Real Salt Lake General Manager Steve Pastorino and Head Coach John Ellinger today announced the acquisition of FW Dante Washington via trade with the Columbus Crew. Washington was acquired in exchange for an undisclosed amount for salary budget considerations for the Columbus Crew. In order to make room on the team's senior roster for Washington, RSL waived MF Evan Whitfield, who had appeared in five of the team's eight games this season.
Washington will be eligible for tomorrow's match against his former team, to be televised live on Fox Sports Rocky Mountain with a pre-game show at 5:00 p.m. MT. Real Salt Lake (3-3-2, 11 pts., third place in the West) is looking to extend its two-game winning streak and is in search of its first road win Saturday at Columbus.
Washington arrived in Salt Lake City on Friday, May 13, in time to view RSL's 2-1 victory over the Los Angeles Galaxy and has been on trial with the team since Monday, May 16. He traveled to Columbus yesterday with the team following Wednesday's 2-0 win over CD Chivas USA, and will wear jersey No. 99 on the bench tomorrow night for RSL.
"I have been trying to figure out what I was going to do for three weeks and the only options that I was looking at were Washington, D.C. and Salt Lake City," said Washington, a nine-year MLS veteran narrowly missed playing for Ellinger during the Crew's run into 1996 MLS playoffs. "In addition, I have always wanted to play for John Ellinger and now I have that opportunity, as well as to be reunited with Jason Kreis."
The 34-year old Washington has appeared in 161 career Major League Soccer games, with 111 starts entering the 2005 season prior to being released by the Crew two weeks ago. He spent the 2003 and 2004 seasons with the A-League Virginia Beach Mariners, scoring 35 goals, prior to returning to the Crew for its final 2004 season game against the Colorado Rapids on Oct. 16, 2004, as well as the Crew's Eastern Conference Semifinal Series against the New England Revolution.
The three-time MLS All-Star selection has scored 52 regular-season goals and added five playoff goals during his career with both Columbus and the Dallas Burn, where he teamed with RSL captain Jason Kreis for three seasons. Washington scored 23 goals with Dallas alongside Kreis during the 1997-99 seasons, with Major League Soccer's All-Time scorer finding the back of the net 35 times as part of that tandem, including Kreis' 1999 MLS MVP campaign.
"Dante Washington adds a different dimension to us on offense. His experience, size and speed provide us with a different approach in our attacking," said Ellinger. "There will be times this season when we'll have to add more offense to our lineup and we have high expectations for him to succeed in that area. I've known him for a very long time and I am happy to be reunited with Dante."
The Maryland native's 52 goals and 29 assists ranks him 19th on Major League Soccer's All-Time scoring list. He is the 12th player in MLS history to score 50 career goals and is the 19th player in MLS history to accumulate 100 career points. He earned six caps between 1991 and 1997, three of them starting assignments with the U.S. Men's National Team scoring two goals.
"Dante Washington has been one of the most imposing forwards in the history of Major League Soccer," Pastorino said. "He is a quality player and person. We are excited to add him to our roster as scoring threat up front."